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The John Coleman and Danton Burroughs Tarzana Archives
Exploring Edgar Rice Burroughs'

A collection of newspaper and magazine articles, aerial photos, post cards, excerpts,
new and archival photos and links to the many Tarzana features in ERBzine

History of Tarzana as outlined in the booklet:
"Edgar Rice Burroughs - First Citizen of Tarzana"
Published by the Tarzana Chamber of Commerce and the Tarzana Bank of America
In conjunction with the First Public Display of Priceless Mementos
illustrating the life and works of ERB - May 5-16, 1969

Click for full-page images
Text Revised by Tarzana Historian, Ralph Herman

Few people know that Tarzana is one of the oldest communities in the Valley. In 1769 when Gaspar de Portola became the first white man to visit the Valley, the Tarzana area was the second community he passed through. A Mexican established a row crop farm on the site of the present day Las (or Los) Encino's Historical Park, next to the still running hot spring in or around 1789.  He built the first non-Indian structure in the Valley made from limestone from the nearby hills, which should still exist, although heavily damaged during the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.  The structure had been returned to near original condition, except with earthquake reinforcing and was being used as a demonstration blacksmith shop up until the earthquake. The Mexican later became Major of Los Angeles, on or around 1800.

The Franciscan Friars arrived in the Valley to establish the San Fernando Mission in 1797. The Friars wanted all the land in the Valley and made a trade deal with the Mexican on some other land East of the Valley.  The Friars used his building during the building of the Mission until there was a suitable place to live in at the Mission.  What is now Tarzana became part of the Mission lands and later part of the 116,000 acre Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando. The only ones to visit the Tarzana area were a few Franciscan missionaries and travelers on the El Camino Real (The King's Highway), now Ventura Boulevard. Since the advent of the Ventura Freeway, there has been some talk of changing the name of Ventura Boulevard back to El Camino Real.

In the 1870's the southern half of the Valley was sold to the Los Angeles Farm Homestead Association. Main stockholders in the association were Isaac Lankershim and I.N. Van Nuys. The initial company that Lankershim and Van Nuys formed, purchased around 58,000 or 59,000 acres in around 1867 from as I recall De Cellis.  They later sold off the difference and retained the remaining 47,500 acres which ran roughly from present day Roscoe Boulevard, to Mulholland Drive, from Calabasas (excluding the El Escorpian (spelling to be corrected) Rancho, the Las Encinos Rancho of around 4600 acres and the 2000 acres Ex-Mission lands.  The original buyers of the 10,500 or 11,500 acres that was sold off included also Gen. Otis and others, including Charles Rindge who later with May purchased and established the lands that formed the Malibu Ranch.  Rindge was not a later member of the Suburban Homes Syndicate.

During the 1880's, a new organization, the Los Angeles Farm and Milling Company, succeeded the Homestead Association, and the Tarzana area, together with the rest of the Valley, became a huge wheat field. The Suburban Homes Syndicate took an Option in 1909 for the 47,500 acres for the purchase price of $2.5 million and exercised the option in the same year. Tract 1000 was recorded in 1910.This paved the way for the Tarzana of today.

During or around 1911, the principal members of the syndicate, being five, (there were also thirty minority members) met to decide who would purchase which parcels.  Otis received the initial selection, or they decided to allow the head honcho to have his pick, and purchased the 550 acres. He named it the Rancho Del Cabrillo which is on the gate plaque and in the copper bronze plaque that Ralph Herman discovered that ERB hid in the walls in the rear of the garage, writing quarters and theatre -- the building where Ralph formerly lived.

General Otis was the publisher for, but NOT the founder of the Los Angeles Times and Mirror Companies.  Even some of the Times reporters and others continually make this error.  The Times was established around eighteen months or longer prior to Otis putting a group together to purchase it in the late 1880s.  Otis had visited Los Angeles in around 1887 or so, then returned maybe six months later to actually work at the Times. About a year later, he and his group purchased it and following that, he bought out the partners. He took a very active part in the development of the Valley. In 1915, water to the Valley was provided through the Owens River Aqueduct and the Valley was annexed to the City of Los Angeles. This secured the Valley's growth.

The Adohr Dairy land was purchased during December 1915, four years before ERB arrived, by Marriott who had just married Rhoda Rindge. On their honeymoon, traveling Southern California, they found the approximate 250 adjoining the Rancho Del Cabrillo on West and roughly what is present day Lindley on the East.  Contrary to many statements often made, Adohr Farms did not extend northerly of Ventura Boulevard.

In 1919 Edgar Rice Burroughs purchased the Rancho Del Cabrillo and moved into the Otis home.  ERB did not build another home on the ranch until after leasing a portion of the ranch to the original El Caballero Country Club in around 1923/24 era.

ERB starting building the garage, writing quarters and theatre building in 1920 with the swimming pool following along with the fish ponds now demolished.

In 1922, Charles L. Daniels purchased a 320 acre tract of land on Reseda Boulevard from the Southern Pacific railroad tracks as far South as Clark Street and bordering Tarzana Ranch. Here he founded a town, Runnymede. Runnymede consisted of one-acre plots for poultry ranches, berry and truck farms. Soon there were 15 farms there. There was water available for all properties in 1922, since the Los Angeles Aqueduct was completed in November, 1913. Water hadn't been permitted for Valley use until the Valley was annexed into the City of Los Angeles in 1915. Otis received some of the first water with a riveted walled pipe running south to Ventura Boulevard, then down to present day Reseda Boulevard, then southerly again on the dedication of Reseda to the sea that General Otis initiated with the line extended to roughly where Rosita Street intercepts Reseda Boulevard today. The Herman family used it for many years for watering the thousands of head of sheep we had grazing their during the summer months.  It was also used by the military during WWII.

Since there was already a Runnymeade in Northern California, this tract became Runnymeade II.  It was never considered a "town," it was a poultry and rabbit farm development.  The intersection of Ventura Boulevard and Reseda Avenue or possibly Street as it was then called which extended northerly through to Northridge and perhaps another Runnymeade development, was not known as Tarzana until after the Post Office was established.

The area  prospered. By 1928 there were 10 square miles in the town, which included Burroughs' Tarzana Ranch.

Tarzana SubdivisionIn 1923, Burroughs subdivided a portion of his land for homes. This was known as the Tarzana Tract. A promotional brochure of the era said of Tarzana Tract: "Chosen by Edgar Rice Burroughs, author of the Tarzan Stories and The Girl from Hollywood, Tarzana is the pride of the beautiful San Fernando Valley. Tarzana will enjoy everything that makes for ideal home life. High elevation, water, gas, electricity, paved streets, etc.... Tarzana offers you homey, spacious acres, with cool, liveable surroundings. Here amidst nature's own, on a subdivision in which the price includes all improvements, with convenient schools, churches and theatres, is the place to live. Do you know that you can buy one of these full acres for $1500, the price of a city lot in the poor district? Why hesitate? Come out into the open and see Tarzana."

The Runnymede Poultry and Berry Association, a forerunner of the Tarzana Chamber of Commerce, was formed in 1923. The Women's Auxiliary later became the Tarzana Women's Club.

In 1927, the residents petitioned for their own post office. It was at this time that it became necessary to find a new name for the community since there was already a Runnymede in California. A contest was held and the name Tarzana was accepted. On December 12, 1930, the Tarzana Post Office (fourth class) opened in a store on Ventura Blvd. The population of Tarzana at the time was about 300.

During the 1930s, Tarzana was known as the "Heart of Ventura Blvd." A drug store, a grocery and a few other small stores were grouped together on Ventura Boulevard at Reseda Boulevard, surrounded by many acres of small farms.

Tarzana grew slowly during the late '30s and early '40s, but after the war, a postwar boom brought prosperity to the little town. Soon many subdivisions began to appear in the hills and in the Valley itself. It soon became one of Los Angeles' "bedroom communities." Today, Tarzana's 24,000 residents enjoy living in "The Home of Tarzan." Instead of a few small shops, today a wide variety of goods and services are offered to the shopper. Instead of farms, modern Tarzana consists mainly of single family homes. A few apartment houses are located north of Ventura Boulevard. While the days of the chicken ranches and berry farms and sprawling ranches are gone, residents continue to enjoy the gracious living ina a tranquil atmosphere established by their predecessors. In addition to the facilities of the 1920's, modern Tarzana now has a park, a library, a freeway, banking facilities, ice skating and bowling centers, medical buildings, country clubs, and an extremely bright future.

Tarzana Ranch 1920s and 80 years later
Photos and Bios for over 250 Valley Celebrities & Films

Memories of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzana
Memories of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzana
. .
The Danton Burroughs 
Family Scrapbook presents

The Burroughs Tarzana Ranch
The Danton Burroughs 
Family Scrapbook presents

Tarzana: The Early Years
. .
Back to ERBs' Tarzana Ranch 1921
Tarzana Ranch ~ 1921
An Illustrated Docu-Novel by Bill Hillman
Ranch Tour: ERBzine 0964
Hully and Jack Burroughs in front of the garage building in the '20s
. .
 Tarzana Ranch Mosaics:
Tarzana Ranch in the early '20s
ERBzine 0954 and ERBzine 0955
El Caballero Promotional Booklet 

Photos ~ Text by ERB ~ Art by Studley Burroughs
ERBzine 1091 ~ ERBzine 1092 ~ ERBzine 1093

 A rare booklet from the '20s 
 written and published by ERB 
Tarzana Trek

A Photo Diary 
by Bill Hillman
Article and Letters 
describing Tarzana 
Tarzana Ranch 1921: Main Ranch House and Ballroom-Theatre
by Edgar and Mary Evaline Burroughs
Lord Passmore's Safari to impossible heights
News Clippings 
Danton displaying rare ERB clippings scrapbook at ERB, Inc.
ERBzine 1358
Farewell Tarzana

A Photo Tribute and Poem by Larry Lingenan
with The Last Photos of Tarzana Ranch by:
Steve Ramada and Peter O'Keefe 
of the Tarzana Cultural Center
. .
First Authenic History of Tarzan
(circa 1964)

Paradise Community of San Fernando Valley
Tarzana Post Office
Tarzan Museum & Statue
ERBzine 0901
Over 250 Celebrities & Films 

and Surrounding Valley Communities
Well-known people who have lived in or near 
Tarzana in the San Fernando Valley.
Photos and Bios
Gallery I | Gallery II | Gallery III | Gallery IV
Gallery V: Films | Gallery VI | Gallery VII | Gallery VIII
Tarzan without Tarzana

News Archive: LA Times ~ June 14, 1999
ERBzine 0201
From Tarzana to 
Corriganville Movie Ranch

ERBzine 3101
Offices of ERB, Inc., Tarzana

Hillmans' 1971 Visit | ERBzine 0192
Offices of ERB, Inc., Tarzana

A Visit 40 Years Later | ERBzine 3578

Edgar Rice Burroughs: The War Years
ERBzine 4197
By Ralph Herman

Trek I | Trek II | Trek III | Trek IV | Trek V
Simi Valley, California
1. Intro and History
Maps ~ Brochures ~ Photos
2. Robin Hood Forest & 
Railway Tunnel
3. Robin Hood Lake & 
The Movie Trees
4. Hideout/Canyon Rock & 
The Movie Rocks
5. Silvertown Movie Town
Then and Now
6. Fort Apache & 
Corsican Village
7. Rhythm & Brews Festival I
Remembering the Movie Ranch
8. Rhythm & Brews Festival II
Booths & Bands
Ronald Reagan
Library & Museum Visit

Centennial Celebration 2012
The Fantastic Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs
ERB Companion Sites Created by Bill Hillman
ERBzine Weekly Webzine
Danton Burroughs Website: Tarzana Treasure Vaults
Burroughs Bibliophiles
John Coleman Burroughs Tribute Site
Tarzine: Official Monthly Webzine of ERB, Inc.
John Carter of Mars
Edgar Rice Burroughs
ERBzine Weekly Webzine
Weekly Webzine
Danton Burroughs Weekly Webzine
Weekly Webzine

John Carter Film

ERB, Inc. Corporate Site

ERB Centennial


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